WESTMINSTER’S new “Great British Nuclear” government body will leave a “toxic legacy for centuries”, the Scottish Greens have warned.

The Tories announced plans to launch and fund the new arms-length government body in order to “develop a resilient pipeline of new” nuclear projects across England.

The UK Government has further announced that Sizewell C, a nuclear project on the Suffolk coast, will be the first to be paid for through the “Regulated Asset Base” (RAB) funding model.

This model will see energy bill payers across the UK – including in Scotland where the elected government opposes the technology – pay more on top of already skyrocketing bills in order to fund the construction of the Suffolk plant.

READ MORE: What is RAB and how will it affect future energy charges for Scots?

As Great British Nuclear (GBN) identifies further nuclear projects to be funded through the RAB model, energy bills for UK consumers will rise still further.

On top of paying for the nuclear sites through their energy bills, the UK Government has said it will invest £700 million of taxpayer money in building Sizewell C.

The Scottish Greens’ environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell criticised the mass expenditure, saying renewables would be a better investment.

He told The National: "Nuclear power is inefficient, dangerous and will leave a long and toxic legacy for centuries.

“Sizewell C will cost tens of billions of pounds that will need to be paid for while millions of people are struggling to make ends meet.”

He went on: "This is a time when we must be investing in the renewable industries of the future. Renewable energy is far cheaper, cleaner and safer than nuclear. We can also get them scaled up far quicker than the decade it will take to open Sizewell C.

"With the powers of a normal independent country we could do so much more to build a cleaner and greener future. It would allow us to invest in our communities and ensure lasting jobs and sustainable industries that have a future."

The UK Government has insisted that GBN will ensure “projects offer clear value for money for taxpayers and consumers”. They said they were "working at pace" to set up the body, with an announcement "expected in the new year".

A spokesperson said in a news release: “The UK Government can confirm today that it will back Great British Nuclear with funding to enable the delivery of clean, safe electricity over the decades to come, protecting future generations from the high price of global fossil fuel markets."

The National: Jim Cuthbert, author of the 'Economic Policy Options For An Independent Scotland' during a press conference on the release of the economic paper for Options for Scotland and the Jimmy Reid Foundation at the McDonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh..

However, former chief statistician at the Scottish Office Jim Cuthbert (above) – who has penned a report on RAB for the Common Weal think tank – warned that the funding model would likely lead to massive windfall profits for operators rather than value for consumers.

He told The National: “RAB funding is particularly unsuited to nuclear projects because of the long construction periods for new nuclear plants, and the long period during which a plant will be in operation. Both factors will lead to overcharging, and the potential for the consortium operators to extract large windfall profits, as a recent report of mine demonstrated.

“In addition, with RAB consumers will start to pay now, many years before they will begin to receive electricity from new plants. We the consumers will incur large costs for which we will be inadequately compensated.”

READ MORE: Scotland 'could be funding England's nuclear plants even after independence' under RAB model

The UK Government said the Sizewell C plant was “at the heart of the new blueprint to Britain’s energy sovereignty”, claiming it would create as many as 10,000 highly skilled jobs.

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Global gas prices are at record highs, caused by [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine. We need more clean, affordable power generated within our borders – British energy for British homes.

“Today’s historic deal giving government backing to Sizewell C’s development is crucial to this, moving us towards greater energy independence and away from the risks that a reliance on volatile global energy markets for our supply comes with.

“This is at the heart of a package of measures that – together with the new Great British Nuclear and powers of the Energy Security Bill – will ensure secure supply for now, and for generations to come.”